Faced with the prospect of being forced to race at Valencia under “normal” rules, the America's Cup defender, Alinghi, is showing signs of negotiation.
Although nothing major will be decided until Monday New York time (16 hours behind Eastern Australian Summer Time) there are signs that the two parties could reach agreement on a number of issues, rather than have decisions forced on them by the Court.
The specialist jury of Bryan Willis (GBR), Graeme McKenzie (NZL) and David Tillett (AUS) will meet today to discuss the submissions presented to the Court by both parties yesterday. They will present their findings to Justice Shirley Kornreich of the New York Supreme Court and she will rule very quickly.
The venue for the February Match is of most interest to spectators, and both parties have agreed to negotiate on this. Alinghi has proposed an unspecified location on the east coast of Australia, arguing that conditions in Valencia (the only northern hemisphere venue acceptable to the Court) are too dangerous to race multihulls in February.
What they really mean is that the “no wind – lots of wind” scenario in Valencia almost guarantees that they will lose as Alinghi 5 has a narrow wind window between about 5 and 15 knots, while the BMW Oracle trimaran is at its best in very light or strong winds.
The only way Alinghi can win in Valencia is by setting the rules that racing can't take place outside specified wind strengths. They are now seeing the writing on the wall – the Court is unlikely to let them get away with that, so they must find another venue.
There is more to come…